Who is Israel? Who is the Church?
Lorraine Day, M.D.
The Doctrine of Dispensationalism states that the Church of Christ, which was born on the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2, is definitely NOT a part of God's covenants with Abraham and David. It is believed that the Christian Church with its gospel of grace is only an "interruption of God's original plan with Israel, unforeseen by the Old Testament prophets and having no connection with God's promises of an earthly kingdom to Abraham, Moses, and David.
'While there are differences of opinion among Christian scholars who teach about Bible prophecy, the majority firmly believe the following five events have been definitely predicted by God to occur before the second coming of Jesus Christ:
(1) The rebirth of the state of Israel in 1948
(2) A soon coming "Seven Year Period of Great Tribulation"
(3) The rebuilding of the third Jewish temple on the Temple Mount inside Jerusalem
(4) The rise of a mysterious man, the Antichrist, who will enter this rebuilt Jewish temple, proclaiming himself as God
(5) A final war against the nation of Israel, resulting in a Middle East battle of Armageddon" Exploding the Israel deception, Steve Wohlberg, pg 9.
They further believe that the "Israel" of the New Testament is the present-day literal nation of Israel even though most Jews are atheists and the other Jews, who are religious, do not believe in Jesus.
Let's look at Israel in 1) The Old Testament, 2) The New Testament, and in 3) Revelation.
What does the name Israel mean? Who first spoke the name?
Jacob, the son of Isaac and brother of Esau, was returning to his homeland after years of hiding in a far country for fear of his brother's revenge. Jacob, many years before, had stolen Esau's blessing by deceiving their father, and Esau had vowed to kill him. The name Jacob means supplanter (plotter or deceiver) which described Jacob's true character in his early life. But he had spent most of his adult life reaping what he had sown as others continued to deceive him. Eventually his heart was changed and so was his character.
Now, on his return to his homeland, it's nighttime. He has heard that his brother is coming after him with a large band of men, to kill him. Jacob is afraid for himself and his family. He sends his wives and children ahead and stays alone. Suddenly, in the middle of the night, he is approached by a ferocious stranger who attacks him in hand to hand combat. Jacob, undoubtedly thinking that his brother has found him, fights for his life. But after a time of struggling, the stranger touches Jacob's hip causing great pain. Jacob's hip is dislocated. The pain is excruciating.
Jacob now realizes that this Being is supernatural, and he hangs on pleading for a blessing. The "Angel" asks, "What is your name." (Of course, the angel already knows Jacob's name. He just wants him to say it.) When Jacob states his name, he is admitting that he is a deceiver. He has made confession for, and repented from, his years of deceit and his life course has been changed. His character has changed!
The "Angel" responds, "Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel (Prince with God); for you have struggled with God and with man and have prevailed."
The name "Israel" was a Spiritual name. It symbolized Jacob's spiritual victory over a life of deception. The human being, Jacob, a natural man, had now been given a spiritual name, "Israel", meaning "Overcomer."
Israel (formerly called Jacob) and his sons moved to Egypt because of a famine in the land of Caanan. Another one of Israel's sons, Joseph, had been sold into slavery by his brothers years before, but now Joseph had been elevated to the leader of Egypt, only surpassed by the Pharoah.